The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks have always been the most difficult for me during the school year. Professors seem to suddenly decide that they need to cram in as many assignments as possible, not to mention finals looming just before the finish line. While I do believe that I thrive under pressure, there’s a limit to that, and finals always seems to push me to the point of immense stress, which I really don’t enjoy. I’ve also been a bit of a cynic about Christmas in the last new years. I love the holiday–don’t get me wrong. But sometimes the outrageous consumerism that this country displays during the beautiful period of Advent is just too much. I feel like the Christmas I was taught to embrace and celebrate–the birth of Christ–is obscured by Americans’ preoccupation with trees and gifts and movies and silly hats and such.
But this year I find myself genuinely excited for the Christmas season. I’m already bouncing back and forth between two Pandora Christmas stations–Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ and early music for the holiday. I’m searching for a great Advent calendar. I’m actually planning my study schedule for finals, so it feels a lot less stressful.
Another big part of what’s helping me to anticipate this season with joy is being immersed in the Marsh community. Choir rehearsals for lessons and carols–my favorite part of the holiday season–are already well underway. (And if you’re not planning on it yet, plan on coming to Lessons and Carols at Marsh on Friday the 7th at 6 pm or Sunday the 16th during our regular service at 11 am.) In this time of transition from Thanksgiving to the anticipation of Christmas, I find myself incredibly thankful to be a part of the Marsh community, where I feel that the Christmas season is celebrated to the fullest, and where I feel that anticipation of Christ’s birth does not have to revolve around buying presents and decorating trees. I want to spend this season in a state of mind where I’m able to try to further understand the meaning of Christmas, and what it means for my own spiritual life. Being in a community where I feel more inclined to be conscientious about my exam preparation puts me in a place to be more organized, allowing me to focus on this wonderful season, and the parts of it that I feel are the most important to me as a Christian.